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The Problem With AI Is the Word “Intelligence”

By Pierre Lemieux | Jun 19 2024
As a Financial Times headline says, “AI in Finance Is Like ‘Moving from Typewriters to Word Processors’” (June 16, 2024). But, I think, not much further, despite all the excitement (see “Ray Kurzweil on How AI Will Transform the Physical World,” The Economist, June 17, 2024). At least, doubts are warranted regarding the “generative” form ...

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Is Art as Progressive as Science?

By Scott Sumner | Jun 13 2024

A few years ago, I answered the question in this post’s title in the negative: It seems to me that human progress is very uneven: Technology: Very rapid progressScience: Rapid Progress Public morals: Slow progressSports: Slow progress Human personalities: No progressArt: No progress Now, I wonder if this judgment was too hasty.  Perhaps I was .. MORE

Featured Comment

Thomas: As a deduction from what? Or is it that the state will have a complete database of what every individual earns and consumes? What about a China-like social credit program (setup after a thorough..

Pierre Lemieux, June 23

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Cross-country Comparisons

Dictatorship Doesn’t Promote Prosperity

By Pierre Lemieux | Jun 25, 2024 | 1

It is a relatively uncontroversial result, confirmed by a number of econometric studies, that economic freedom has a positive effect on incomes (GDP per capita). An econometric study to appear in the European Journal of Political Economy, “Revisiting the Relationship Between Economic Freedom and Development to Account for Statistical Deception by Autocratic Regimes,” argues that .. MORE

Labor Market

Barriers to Entry as Baseball Bats

By John Phelan | Jun 25, 2024 | 1

Government is largely the art of whacking your knees with a baseball bat, handing you a Band Aid, and asking you to remember the Band Aid next polling day. Minnesota – a reliable source – provides an example.  In March, Minneapolis City Council issued an ordinance establishing minimum pay rates for rideshare drivers.  Lyft announced .. MORE

Politics and Economics

The Internal Contradictions of Nationalism

By Scott Sumner | Jun 23, 2024 | 20

Here are two different versions of American nationalism: Version 1: High tech is evil, part of the woke conspiracy to radicalize America. We need to go back to muscular old industries like coal and steel and autos, which employ lots of blue color workers. We need to revive the Rust Belt. EVs are a fad. .. MORE

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

My Weekly Reading for June 23, 2024

By David Henderson | Jun 23, 2024 | 10

The Deadly Tobacco Drug War Down Under by Jacob Grier, Reason, June 17, 2024. Excerpt: Since March of last year, the Australian state of Victoria has been rocked by a series of arsons and firebombings. Some of the targets are victims of extortion; others are caught in an escalating turf war between rival gangs. Two .. MORE

Cross-country Comparisons

Does a Price Decrease Fuel Deflation?

By Pierre Lemieux | Jun 23, 2024 | 14

Nearly everybody seems to think so, including many economists: when a price rises, it fuels inflation. The venerable magazine The Economist doesn’t think twice about it. Speaking of Argentina, it writes (“Javier Milei’s Next Move Could Make His Presidency—or Break It,” June 19, 2024): Monthly inflation may creep up in June as energy prices rise. .. MORE


Ask a stupid question . . .

By Scott Sumner | Jun 21, 2024 | 32

. . . get a stupid answer. A recent article on inflation beautifully illustrates the truth of this old maxim. Before getting to the article, let’s review another maxim, this one not at all old: Never reason from a price change. Thus, for instance, it would make no sense to ask people about the “welfare .. MORE

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Book Club

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

Henderson Review of Build, Baby, Build 1

  Often when I advocate abolishing a particular regulation, I’m accused of thinking that my proposal is a panacea. Usually, that’s false: I point out that it would move things in the right direction but that it’s not close to being a panacea. I’m guessing that for most policies he advocates, Bryan Caplan has the .. MORE

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

Rights and the Principle of Charity 16

In his book Word and Object, W. V. Quine describes the problems that arise when one is attempting to translate an entirely unfamiliar language. Among the ideas he raises in his discussion is that when attempting to translate what someone is saying, one should employ the principle of charity, by which Quine meant we should .. MORE

History of Economic Thought

Henderson on South Royalton Austrian Conference 8

Later this month is the 50th anniversary of the South Royalton, Vermont conference on Austrian economics. Liberty Fund asked Richard Ebeling, one of the attendees to write the long essay, and then two people who attended (Mario Rizzo and I) and one person who didn’t (Geoffrey Lea) wrote responses. Here’s an excerpt from my response: .. MORE

Book Reviews and Suggested Readings

Helmut Schoeck’s Envy: A Theory of Social Behaviour

By Art Carden

A Liberty Classic Book Review of Envy: A Theory of Social Behaviour by Helmut Schoeck.1 I’ve been such a fool, Vassili. Man will always be man. There is no new man. We tried so hard to create a society that is equal, where there’d be nothing to envy your neighbor. But there’s always something to .. MORE

Touching the Elephant

By Kwok Ping Tsang

Review of China’s Gilded Age: The Paradox of Economic Boom and Vast Corruption, by Yuen Yuen Ang.1 The parable of blind men touching an elephant is a good description of how scholars are putting forward theories to explain the growth of China. Wanting to know what an elephant looks like, each man touches one part .. MORE

America’s Animal Spirits

By Samuel Gregg

A Book Review of Animal Spirits: The American Pursuit of Vitality from Camp Meeting to Wall Street, by Jackson Lears.1 When Alexis de Tocqueville visited the young American republic in the early 1830s, he immediately noticed a deep restlessness which characterized the Americans that he encountered. In the America witnessed by Tocqueville, … a man .. MORE

Romance and Reality: A Review of Romance of the Rails by Randal O’Toole

By David R. Henderson

Randal O’Toole’s recent book, Romance of the Rails,1 is a slam-dunk. Actually, that is an understatement. The book is full of slam-dunks. In chapter after chapter, O’Toole, a long-time fan of railroads, puts his fandom aside and shows what a disaster government subsidies to, and regulations of, rail transportation have been. The book, subtitled “Why .. MORE